M7.3 Fukushima quake likely aftershock of 2011 killer quake

Carla Harmon
February 14, 2021

A 7.1 magnitude quake was reported Saturday by the Japan Meteorological Agency at 23:08 JST with an epicenter off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said the quake was centred about 55 kilometres (34 miles) beneath the ocean, changing it from the earlier estimate for 60 kilometres (37 miles).

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, the 11:08 p.m. quake's seismic intensity - upper 6 on the Japanese scale of 7 - was the strongest to occur off the country's northeastern coast since April 7, 2011, about a month after the March 11 quake that subsequently caused core meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

There were no reports of irregularities at the Tokaimura nuclear facility, public broadcaster NHK said. Tokyo Electric Power Co. said that some 860,000 homes were without power as a result of the quake, according to Kato.

Local media reported the quake threw dishes from shelves in houses in the region, but there were no immediate reports of damage. The quake triggered a tsunami that reached heights of up to 40.5 meters.

Fukushima became synonymous with nuclear disaster in March 2011 when the area was hit by a 9.0 magnitude quake - the strongest in Japan's history.

Japan's meteorological agency (JMA) said Saturday's natural disaster was believed to be an aftershock of the massive 2011 quake. Among the hardest hit areas is the city of Soma in Fukushima, roughly 40 km north of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, and the Zao ski resort in Miyagi Prefecture. It might have caused light to moderate damage.

While there was no tsunami warning generated by the quake, those near coastal areas were urged to move to higher ground as a precaution due to the likelihood of aftershocks.

Earthquakes are common in Japan, which lies close to the Ring of Fire, a region around the Pacific Rim where the earth's tectonic plates meet.

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